Douglas Cochrane Has Already Lived a Full Life

Douglas Cochrane is only 21, but has been through a lot in his relatively short lifetime.

Like many of those in his generation, Cochrane turned to body art to express aspects in his life that have changed whether for better or worse. The bouquet of roses tattooed permanently on his left arm, a tribute to his Aunt, who died of cancer earlier this year and others he has lost to this disease.

Unafraid to shy away from the topic of his suicide attempt, Cochrane also has a skull on his right arm, the beginning of a sleeve of tattoos to come. He said he wants to be reminded of death, specifically the night in November where he ended up in Ottawa General Hospital after an attempt on his own life.

Cochrane said he now sees a future for himself. He added he gets emotional as he speaks of a future he previously couldn’t imagine.

“Just the idea of being able to hold my child in my arms, and you know when babies are born and they wrap their hands around your finger? . . . I think that’s my biggest life goal. I just really want, I really want to be a dad," Cochrane said.

He said he credits part of this change of heart to trips he has taken to the Dominican Republic, which also have permanently claimed space on his body. When he returned to Canada, he felt many of his peers were unable to identify with life changing experience he had.

"Here we are so self centered, and we just expect everything from everybody," Cochrane said. "I think that’s just the worst outlook to have . . . a lot we can learn." 

For now, Cochrane said life is good. He added he's up for a position with Canadian Border Security which he hopes will jumpstart his career, and he’s consciously taking time to focus on his health and happiness.